"I wanted to show Washingtonians that the Japanese don't always eat sushi and sashimi at home–it's served as a treat or for special occasions," says Izumi Yoshimoto, who with her daughter Miki Yoshimoto owned the Japan Inn in Georgetown. After 39 years, she wanted a smaller place with more casual fare.
For her new restaurant, Chez Mama-san, Yoshimoto concentrated on a style of Japanese cooking called Yo-shoku, foreign dishes that have been introduced into Japan over the centuries.
After Japan opened its borders, its cooks experimented with foods from India, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, and the Americas. Over time this food has become Japanized, a style of cooking found most often in homes.
While keeping some traditional fare, Yoshimoto has created a menu with some dishes passed down by her late mother–favorites like Japanese-style meatloaf, croquettes, curry, and savory pancakes. Lunch dishes are $9 to $14, dinner entrées from $13 to $21.
Chez Mama-san: 1039 33rd Street; 202-333-3888).
Open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch, Tuesday through Sunday for dinner.